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Fear of networking can lead to catastrophic results. Here’s what to do. NOTE: I originally recorded this as a Hangout and Google created audio with a lengthy gap early on, as well as some choppiness. You may just want to read the text summary.

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Originally when I started thinking of doing this topic for a video, I thought about the student audience. You know, the one that's graduating now. I thought of talking with you folks who are recent graduates about networking bigger than you probably do. But I think this is also an issue for who get exhausted pretty quickly. One thing I always tell the student audience on LinkedIn is that, as you build your network, look for people who are alums from your school who are a year or two ahead of you to talk with them about how they found work.

Now, I want to switch over to the older worker. The same thing applies. You’ve got to build your network because the statistics say 70% of all jobs are filled by people through networking and 70% of those (or, in other words, almost half of all jobs) are filled as a result of introductions to people that you didn’t know at the beginning of your search.

So, you may think you know a lot of people and I’m going to tell you point-blank you may know 50-100 people who you can reach out to. But you will discover pretty quickly how exhausted that becomes and thus you need to build more relationships. You need to talk to more people. You need to keep putting yourself out there. If you are afraid (and this applies to both experienced and inexperience job hunters alike), if you're afraid to network let's analyze why.

1. You feel foolish doing it. You don't know what to say. It down to the fact that practice invariably makes perfect. You need to practice some of the things that you are going to say so that you feel more comfortable and more professional saying some of these things. So, think in terms of informational interviews.

“Hi! I’m involved with a search. It seemed you went to my school a couple years ago (or we went to the same school at the same time a few years ago). Can I pick your brain for about 15 minutes and schedule some time to talk that how your search went, what you did, so I can learn from you, avoid some of the mistakes that might be prone to make.

For an adult worker, for an older worker:

“Hi! I’m thinking of making a job change. You work for an organization I’m interested in. I’m not asking you to advocate for me. I would like to get about 15 minutes to pick your brain.” Then, you reach out and practice these words regularly so that they become second nature. It’s like being in the theater. You have to be an actor or actress rehearsing the script in order to make sure that it sounds comfortable and measured for you.

If your emotional side starts getting in the way, you can just simply take a moment before you make the phone call and start to do some slow breathing exercises. Focus on the area of your body that feels a little uncomfortable and just do focus on it for a minute with your eyes closed and you will notice that the amount of energy that it’s expending starts to dissipate.

Whatever it is that you do, whether it’s vigorous exercise or breathing or this focus exercise, just do it before you make a series of these calls. Don’t just simply make one, leave a message and announced that you’re done for the day. Get out there and talk to people. Reach out and LEAVE MESSAGES.

In the message, you can include your phone number, email address, and if you or someone who texts regularly, if you think that's a better way to communicate, leave your mobile number so they can get back to you. Try to remember to include a convenient time for the two of you to speak. Whatever it is, just leave a way to communicate so that in this way, your call is just not simply going out into the abyss with no possibility of return.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching and life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Visit and click the relevant tab on the top of the page. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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